Nanotechnology Applications: Heavy Industries

Nanotechnology finds its applications in various industries today. This article discusses in brief its application in heavy industries such as constriction, energy, etc. 

Construction Industry:
This technology enables faster and more intelligent design of buildings with related infrastructure such as steel, glass, paint, wood, cement etc. The concept of ‘Algorithmic Self Assembly’ which allows strong structures to be moulded into required shapes gives a lot of flexibility in the design

Nano-particles of Titanium Dioxde (TiO2) has been the central point of focus in the construction industry because of its properties, that keep various manufactured components bright and shining even after many years of usage.

Titanium Dioxide has been used in construction and related industries with its use in the markets expected to top USD 2.3 bn by 2012 . Big players that are involved in the production of titanium dioxide for construction are:

  1. Huntsman Corp.
  2. Kronos Worldwide
  3. Millenium Inorganic Chemicals
  4. Sachtleben
  5. Tronos, Inc.

Petrochemical Industries:
Hydrocarbon extraction, Gas separations, Air pollution monitoring, Adsorbent materials for environmental separations and corrosion inhibition are some of the common place applications in most of the gas industry markets. Presently there is a lot of thrust in the area of optimization using Nano-sensors in oil and natural gas wells as well as in deep sea exploration.

Catalysis is one of the most pervasive processes in all industries. Deployment of nanoparticles for developing Automatic Catalytic converters, with tailor-made specifications is the next big step moving forward for many industries, most prominently, the Petrochemical Industry. In 2010 itself, Nano-engineered materials constituted around 30-40 % global catalyst market which has annual sales of USD20 billion

The largest petrochemical companies that have made significant investments in nanotechnology are given below:

  1. BASF
  2. Shell
  3. DuPont
  4. Sumitomo Corporation

Energy Industry:

The traditional methods of electricity generation, transmission and consumption have changed significantly in past 50 years, but change is here to stay with Nanotechnology ushering in a new shift in these processes.

Solar: Nanomaterials have shown improved electron generation and capture which indicates great promise for the evolution of Solar powered devices. An organic approach has been envisaged due to its easy replication for mass production. There has been an increase in the power conversion efficiency of nano structured organic solar cells by 800% since 2000 . Some of the companies in the solar nanotechnology business are i. Nanosolar ii. Konarka iii. Innovalight iv. Global Photonics all based out of US

Georthermal: Improved drilling materials developed through the use of Nanocrystalline metals and ceramics has given ample scope for tapping the latent Geothermal energy. Considering the fact that the heat from geothermal is of low-grade, new thermoelectric with efficient heat conduction have sown great promise.

Nuclear Fission: The emergence of nanofluids as coolants with better heat removal capacity has suggested a potential replacement for pure water in Pressurised Water Reactors (PWR’s). Recent experimental findings have suggested a 70 % better heat removal which is a huge improvement for fission reactors which have an operating efficiency of mere 35%. There has been no reported usage of nanofluids. There has been development of many nanomaterials that are tolerant to radiation and effectively shield the environment around.